COME FLY THE FRIENDLY SKIES -
Cabin Pressure Reviews: Putting the fun back into blogging. Sometimes too much so.
This is the first review for our Cabin Pressure series. We hope you
like it and will follow us for more!!
For those outside the UK who may not be familiar with this
lovely radio program, Cabin Pressure is an award-winning sitcom that debuted on
BBC Radio 4 in 2009 and ran for a successful four seasons, ending in December
of 2014. It was created by British comedy writer John David Finnemore, and it
was produced and directed by David Tyler.
Cabin Pressure follows the adventures of the funny and
disfunctional crew of a small charter airplane owned by MJN Air as they attempt
to fly passengers and cargo all around the word.
– (played by Stephanie Cole) – The owner of MJN Air
Martin Crieff –
(played by Benedict Cumberbatch) – The marginal airline pilot
– (played by Roger Allam)- the more competent co-pilot
Arthur Shappey –
(played by John Finnemore) – Caroyln’s son and flight attendant
“Abu Dhabi” (Series 1. Original air date: July 2, 2008)
After a costly diversion to Bristol, Carolyn orders Martin
to fly a “no frills” flight to Abu Dhabi to save money. This includes
absolutely no diversions, whatsoever. Unfortunately, halfway to Abu Dhabi, the
crew realizes that their client’s cat has been left in the unheated cargo hold.
“Abu Dhabi” is our first introduction to the crew of MJN
Air, so much of the episode is spent getting to know their personalities. The
jokes and the well delivered one-liners begin from the very first intercom
announcement (a tactic that is used for many of the episodes to set the tone).
For listeners who aren’t familiar with regions and cities in the UK, don’t get
bogged down with names. The local humor is easy to follow.
The chemistry between the characters is already strong, even
in this first episode, and it continues to build throughout the series (as you
will see). Douglas and Martin are perfectly cast as opposite sides of the
“pilot coin”. For Martin, piloting a plane doesn’t come easy, and he works
extremely hard at it, to the point of being too much of a stickler for the
rules. Douglas is a skilled pilot naturally, but he doesn’t see the point in
rules when he finds an easier way out of things. Martin is desperate for
respect as the pilot. Douglas inwardly resents being second, but plays it off as
not caring. This is the basis for some hilarious and ongoing ego issues between
them. A perfect example of this is the “sir” segment from this episode.
Arthur’s cheerful but dim-witted personality is an important
piece to the show, as is Carolyn’s no-nonsense and authoritative demeanor.
Arthur tries a bit too much to please, resulting in a less-than-satisfactory
meal aboard the plane, and his persistency in understanding why planes fly is
genius, laugh-out-loud writing on John Finnemore’s part.
(while arguing over
who sits where in Carolyn’s car.)
Martin: “The front seat is my seat.”
Douglas: “What, did you call shot-gun?”
Martin: “I don’t need to call shot-gun. I’m the Captain.”
Douglas: “The captain gets the front seat in the aircraft
Martin, because he’s driving it. Not in any vehicle he happens to be in.”
out of 10
“Abu Dhabi” lays the groundwork for the rest of the series.
While perhaps not the overall funniest episode or the most action packed, it is
delightfully entertaining and full of its own great one-liners and humorous
character conflict. It’s a great introduction for a show that only gets better
as time goes on.